Lithuania Rebuffs China, Opens Representative Office In Taiwan
Taiwan will open a representative office in Lithuania, the first of its kind in Europe in 18 years, the Foreign Ministry said, amid continuing tensions between the Communist-led mainland and the democratic, self-ruled island, Kyodo News reported.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told a virtual press conference that after months of negotiations, the governments of Taiwan and Lithuania agreed to open a representative office in their respective capitals. The Baltic country recognizes China diplomatically.
Lithuania's Foreign Ministry, in a statement Tuesday, said the move is "in line with the government's goal of diversifying Lithuania's export markets, and to seek new partners among democratic states in the Indo-Pacific region."
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis tweeted last month, after his government approved the donation of 20,000 coronavirus vaccines to Taiwan, that "freedom-loving people should look out for each other!"
"We will soon establish the Taiwanese Representative Office in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius and preparations are well underway," Wu said. The ministry said it will be Taiwan's second representative office in Europe. The first opened in Slovakia in 2003. The Vatican is the only European state with which Taiwan has diplomatic relations.
In August last year, Taiwan established a representative office in the breakaway territory of Somaliland. It opened a representative office in Taipei one month later. The move angered China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
Beijing on Tuesday expressed strong opposition to Taipei's decision, saying any official exchanges between Taiwan and foreign countries are not allowed. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing that the mainland "urges Lithuania to adhere to the one-China principle," adding any attempt by Taiwan to create "two Chinas" will not succeed.